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Reston Companies Top Northern Virginia Technology Council’s ‘Tech 100’

(Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. to include more information about the selection process for “Tech 100.”)

More than a quarter of companies selected for the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s inaugural “Tech 100” call Reston or Herndon home.

The companies span a variety of categories — cyber, software, IT services, artificial intelligence, genomics, health IT — in order to represent growing sectors in the region’s technology corridor.

“The NVTC Tech 100 is composed of companies and individuals who are driving tech innovation, implementing new solutions for their customers and leading growth in the greater Washington region,” Eileen Filler-Corn, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing Fairfax County, tweeted today.

The nomination period ran from Sept. 19 to Oct. 19, with the requirement that nominees must have a location in the Northern Virginia region, according to Allison Gilmore, vice president of NVTC’s Communications and Strategic Initiatives. An independent panel of judges reviewed and selected the nominations.

Out of the 85 companies chosen, 17 have headquarters in Reston and six are based in Herndon.

The Reston-based companies are the following:

Companies headquartered in Herndon include:

The roundup included companies that have locations in Reston, including ArdentMCDecisiv and Digital RealtyForcepoint, which has an office in Herndon, also made the list.

“Tech 100” also featured more than a dozen executives. Judy Bjornaas from Herndon-based ManTech, Matthew Calkins from Appian in Reston and Stu Shea from Peraton made the cut.

A party at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner at 6 p.m. tonight will celebrate the Tech 100.

Images via the Northern Virginia Technology Council

This story has been updated

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Lane and Ramp Closures Near Reston and Herndon This Week

Construction work on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project brings lane and ramp closures from Monday (Dec. 3) until Saturday (Dec. 8).

Most of the closures avoid prime rush hour times.

In a post about the closures, the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project reminds drivers to use caution; remain attentive to all signage, barricades and speed limits; and obey all police and flagger instructions. Work is subject to weather changes.

Eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road has alternating right and left lane closures from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass on the following days:

  • Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Alternating right and left lane closures are also westbound on the Dulles Toll Road between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpass. These will be in effect:

  • Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Also heading westbound is a ramp closure at mile marker 3.3 to Access Road. The ramp will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday until Friday for striping.

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of Town Center Pkwy to Bechtel Building Entrance. The civil work will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9: 30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Eastbound on Herndon Parkway from 1,000 feet east of Van Buren Street to 800 feet west of Exchange Place will have a right lane closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Several different spots westbound on Sunrise Valley Drive will have closed right lanes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, including:

  • from Dulles Technology Drive to Dulles Station Blvd
  • from Thunder Chase Drive to Millburn Lane
  • from Reston Pkwy to 200 feet west of Edmund Halley Drive

Edmund Halley Drive will have a right shoulder closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

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Reston in the Running for USA Today’s ‘Best Holiday Parade’

Locals have one week left to vote Reston’s holiday parade to the top of USA Today’s nationwide ranking.

The contest has Reston competing against other parades in towns and cities across the country, including Sparks, Nev.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; San Antonio; and Detroit.

USA Today’s 10Best Editors and Local Experts nominated 20 places that “bring holiday cheer in the form of festive floats, dancing elves, Santa and his sleigh and millions of twinkling lights,” according to the website.

The annual event in Reston Town Center is known for its Macy’s-style parade of balloons, musicians, dancers and more. This year’s parade took place on Nov. 23.

Last year, Reston landed in sixth place on USA Today’s list. Philadelphia claimed the top spot, followed by Detroit; Baltimore; Annapolis, Md.; and Charlotte, N.C.

In 2016, Reston held the fourth-place slot, putting it one spot ahead of the nationally-televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Voters can cast one ballot per day until voting ends on Monday (Dec. 10) at noon.

USA Today will announce the top 10 winning events, determined by the votes, on Dec. 21.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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Reston Students Take Tech Questions to NASA

(Updated 3 p.m.) Gabe Aparicio, a 9-year-old Reston student, has been working on a project that involved 3D printing for space technology and had some questions. So who better to ask than a board of NASA experts?

A photo of Aparicio asking a question at a Nov. 29 meeting regarding commercial space traffic was NASA’s featured “Photo of the Day”.

“It was a really great opportunity to hear about the technology he only normally sees in movies,” said Sam Aparicio, Gabe’s father.  “It was quite a treat.”

Aparicio is a member of the “BrainStorm Troopers”, a team of students at the Nova Lab Robotics in Reston. The labs are a maker space in Isaac Newton Square that, among other activities, runs programs that help children learn about science and technology.

Laura Carey, one of the co-coaches for the team, said the name was chosen by the avid Star Wars fans in the group.

The BrainStorm Troopers are one of the Nova Lab Robotics teams working in the FIRST Lego League, a challenge for students ages 9-11 built around designing robotics with legos to combat a certain challenge. This year, BrainStorm Troopers’ challenge was called Into Orbit, tasking students with identifying challenges humans would face in deep space exploration and work on devising a solution.

“They use the Legos to build robots,” said Marybeth Haneline, President of Nova Labs. “For their research question they looked at 3D printing in space, so [Gabe] asked NASA about 3D printing.”

Haneline said students at Nova Labs Robotics were some of several teams throughout the region invited to NASA’s discussion of delivery of commercial payloads to the moon’s surface.

“They have been working all season long to understand what is the role of 3D printing in space exploration,” said Sam Aparicio. “It was really cool for him and his teammates to get validation that this is an area of great interest for NASA engineers. That was one of the highlights of the event.”

Sam Aparicio said Gabe’s involvement with BrainTroopers has not only been fun for a child who loves building with Legos but has also helped shape skills outside of science and technology.

“I’ve been enjoying seeing how this can translate into real-world problem solving,” said Sam Aparicio. “I think one of the big things, not just my son but all of the kids, is that they love learning about teamwork. In the school setting, harder for all of the kids to work on one problem… It’s just been fun for them to bond with other kids in trying to solve a big problem.”

Haneline said the Nova Labs Robotics teams are sponsored, in part, by donor corporations like BTI360 and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Haneline noted that Nova Labs Robotics is currently in a dedicated space in Isaac Newton Square, which is soon to be redeveloped, so the group needs to find a new home by the first of the next year.

“We’re looking for a corporate donor who might be willing to donate some space,” said Haneline.

Photo via NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Legal Insider: Rights for Federal Employees in Disciplinary Cases

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

More common types of federal agency “adverse actions” (more serious discipline) include removal, demotion, reduction in grade or suspensions of greater than 14 days. Some types of “disciplinary actions” (lessor discipline) include letters of warning, letters of reprimand, oral or written counseling or suspensions of less than 15 days.

Federal Employee Rights in Disciplinary Cases

If a federal employee is issued a proposed disciplinary action, the proposal will normally include a description of the alleged misconduct and the type of charge against the employee (e.g., insubordination, theft, conduct unbecoming, lack of performance, etc.).

Federal employees in adverse action matters (suspensions of 15 days and above, and demotion matters) and in some disciplinary actions (suspensions of any length (usually 14 days and below)) have the following rights: (1) right to an attorney; (2) right to respond to the proposal in writing or orally, and (3) the right to review all of the materials relied upon in the issuance of the Proposal.

We recommend that employees involved in proposed disciplinary or adverse action always request from the agency all of the materials that it is relying upon to propose discipline. Sometimes disciplinary actions will not be drafted properly and reviewing the materials relied upon can help in responding to the discipline.

Present Both a Written and Oral Response

We also usually recommend, in most cases, that a federal employee present both a written response and an oral response to the deciding official (the decision maker on the disciplinary action) in a proposed disciplinary or adverse action.

The oral response portion of a federal employee’s response can be extremely important and usually follows the submission of the written response.

Typically, when we assist federal employees in this regard, we obtain a full statement of facts from the federal employee involved and prepare a full written rebuttal to the allegations. We also contact the deciding official in the personnel action and request an appointment for the oral response.

In these types of cases, we respond to both the merits of the alleged conduct and argue for mitigation under the Douglas Factors. Douglas Factors typically are mitigating reasons as to why a particular disciplinary penalty should be reduced (i.e., based on years of successful performance, no prior disciplinary actions, lack of clarity about the rules at issue and other reasons why a disciplinary penalty should not be so harsh).

Conclusion

If you are in need of assistance in the federal employee discipline process please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Board of Supervisors to Take Up Controversial Proposals, Development Plans Tomorrow

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors is expected to authorize public hearings on two controversial proposals and consider several developments at its Tuesday (Dec. 4) meeting.

The board is anticipated to authorize public hearings on proposed zoning changes that would increase the population density. The hearings would take place at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 and at 4:30 p.m. on March 5.

The zoning amendment would increase the maximum population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district from 13 persons to 15. Dwelling units per acre would increase from 50 units to 70 near Metro stations.

The Coalition for a Planned Reston, Reston 2020 and the Reston Association have raised concerns with the proposal, expressing worries about the exemptions given to developers with proposals that do not conform to the Reston Master Plan and a lack of infrastructure to support an increased density.

The board is also expected to authorize a public hearing at 4 p.m. on Jan. 22 to consider adding chinchillas, hedgehogs and hermit crabs to the county’s list of commonly accepted pets.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission scrutinized health and safety concerns for the three animals at its public hearing last Thursday (Nov. 29).

For developments, the following are expected:

  • a decision on Woodfield Acquisitions’ redevelopment of Roland Clarke Place that would add a 308-unit residential complex just south of the Dulles Toll Road
  • a public hearing on changes to previously approved development conditions for the Tall Oaks Village Center townhome project by Stanley Martin
  • a public hearing on the Midline, a mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station

The board will also consider endorsing non-regulatory guidelines for developments in Reston Transit Station Areas and will receive a presentation on the annual financial report for the 2018 fiscal year, along with an update on the Economic Success Strategic Plan.

Reston-based Appian Corp. may receive approval from the board for a $4 million grant from the Commonwealth for an expansion.

The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/Facebook

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Reston Historic Trust & Museum Begins Raising Funds for Lakeside Pharmacy Icons Exhibit

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum has raised $965 in three weeks with its fundraising campaign to reinstall the iconic, quirky pharmacy icons from the Lakeside Pharmacy.

The GoFundMe campaign launched on Nov. 8, Alexandra Campbell, the executive director of the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, told Reston Now.

The fundraising target of $15,000 will pay for repairs, cleaning and reinstallation of the icons in a new permanent exhibit in the plaza. The new exhibit will be unveiled during the organization’s annual Founder’s day event on April 6.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Campbell said. “We have some time to get to the $15,000.”

Most of the 22 donations have been small, individual donations — seven people have given $25, while others have donated amounts between $10 to $100.

The icons served as advertisements for the Lakeside Pharmacy, a legacy Lake Anne Plaza store. Designed by Chermayeff and Geismar, a New York-based graphic design firm, the icons were inspired by 1960s pop art and Reston’s founder Bob Simon’s wish for whimsical art at Lake Anne Plaza.

The Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association donated the icons to the Reston Historic Trust & Museum after they were removed in July to make way for new businesses in the pharmacy’s former location.

“We’re really glad to help preserve and keep them here,” Campbell said about the icons.

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Monday Morning Notes

Virginia’s new members of Congress — Hear what the five lawmakers have to say about their first few weeks on Capitol Hill. [WVTF]

Winter break camp — With the holidays coming up, find out about the Reston Association’s Winter Break Camp if you need to keep your kids entertained and active. The deadline to apply is Dec. 13. [Reston Association YouTube]

Homeseller advice session — Mark Sierakowski,  a realtor with Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc., will present a workshop on selling your home at 1 p.m. at the Reston Regional Library. [Fairfax County]

Photo via Ray Copson

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